Great Divide (Est. 1994) has earned 17 Great American Beer Festival medals and were ranked 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth”. Brian Dunn of Great Divide’s goal was to create adventurous beers that reflect the Colorado lifestyle. He wanted to capture Denver’s urban energy and Colorado’s awe-inspiring mountains. From great session beers like DPA to massively hoppy, big beers like Hercules, Great Divide has become synonymous with progressive, balanced, assertive hand-crafted ales. And I have to say… mission accomplished Brian.
Now this beer and cheese tasting wasn’t your regular ol’ “Sit down restaurant style and have a waiter bring you one course of beer and one cheese, while you and other cheese lovers discuss the mystery of how cheese is so good even though it smells so bad.” This tasting was set up in the brewery, with the fermenters and barrels all around you, music blairing so you could didn’t have to “discuss”. When we sat down someone who works at the brewery brought us 5 taster glasses, that were later filled and a plate of all 5 cheeses. “Have at it, you have an hour.” I personally hate waiting for someone to take 30 minutes to explain to you the complexities of why 2 things like beer and cheese would work, so this was right up my alley.
The menu was as follows:
Tomme Crayeuse paired with Denver Pale Ale
The Crayeuse, which means “chalky”, was actually very round and creamy with a subtle burst of flavor. Crazy aromas came off of it. Damp earth, straw, and butter all in one good whiff. The DPA was also very delicious, a classic pale ale with a malty middle and a great hop aroma, flavor and bitterness.
Avalanche Goat cheddar paired with Hoss Rye Lager
The Avalanche was a great cheese. Made in the style of a traditional British cheddar with goat’s milk. Hoss Rye Lager has become one of my favorite beers. I LOVE Rye beers, and this one just blew my mind. Layered malt notes, with a slight earthy, spicy character due to the Rye. And at 6.2% ABV you cant beat its crisp, dry finish.
Ewephoria Dutch sheep Milk Gouda paired with Claymore Scotch Ale
This cheese is said to have been made for the American Market’s infamous sweet tooth. I wish they were lying.. but this butterscotch sweet, nutty cheese was a great success, and paired well with Claymore’s caramel sweetness. I love how scotch ales can warm you up on a cold night.. and it was damn cold in Denver.
Marieke Foenegreek Wisconsin raw milk Gouda paired with Hades
This gouda was very smooth, creamy with a slightly sweet character. They say it gets nuttier and more complex as it ages. We must of had an old batch of it, cause it was nutty as hell, but my favorite pairing of the night. Hades is a Belgian style golden ale with a very complex spicy flavor and aroma. 7.8% ABV .. it’s a biggun’.
English Blue Stilton paired with Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
I’m not a big fan of super stinky cheese. And this one was very stinky, but to complete the whole experience i ate it. Not all of it, but i ate it. I’m going to describe it as… stinky, buttery, super earthy, and it stunk again. But the Yeti! So good, big roasty malts, rich caramel and toffee, with a great hop character. 9.5%, biggest beer of the night.. I think i got a refill of this one.. maybe not.
Afterwards we sat around, talked to the brewers and bartenders. Yeah, you can have a taproom/bar connected to your brewery there. Something that texas brewpubs are fighting for right now, so if you haven’t done it already, sign the HB660 petition.
We of course had more beers after the event, including: Belgica, Hercules Double IPA, Titan IPA, Wild Raspberry ale (just tasted it), and Samurai. We also walked out with a few bottles of their Grand Cru, and Espesso Oak Aged Yeti.
If you’ve never tried any of Great Divides beer on cask, Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek should be receiving a firkin (cask) from Great Divide in the near future. So keep your eyes open on twitter @alamolakecreek for when that will be available, you definately dont want to miss out. There will be more posts on our beercation soon, but remember, if you’re ever in Denver towards the end of the month, check out Great Divide for a great cheese event. Just make sure you put enough money in your parking meter…. you dont want to get a ticket like a certain someone. Time flies when you’re drinking great beers. Until next time, I’m out.
A special thanks to James McNeal and Nicole Vinton for joining me on this awesome vacation.
Visit Great Divide in real life!